Other Sports

Roy Halladay won't be back anytime soon

776152.jpg

Roy Halladay won't be back anytime soon

From Comcast SportsNet
NEW YORK (AP) -- Philadelphia Phillies ace Roy Halladay is expected to miss six to eight weeks because of a strained right shoulder, the latest major setback for the five-time NL East champions. Halladay was put on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday, two days after he was hit hard and pulled from a start in St. Louis after just two innings because of shoulder soreness. The two-time Cy Young winner will be shut down for a minimum of three weeks, then work toward rejoining the rotation, Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said. Proefrock said tests done in Philadelphia indicated Halladay doesn't need surgery to recover and that the injury doesn't affect his rotator cuff. "We hate to have him down, but it's nothing that requires anything other than rest," Proefrock said. Halladay is 4-5 with a 3.98 ERA in 11 starts. He has pitched at least 220 innings in each of the past six seasons, and four times led the league in innings. His 72 1-3 innings this year tied Houston's Wandy Rodriguez for the NL lead. The move with Halladay, which came two years to the day since he pitched a perfect game in Florida, was made retroactive to Monday. Catcher Erik Kratz was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Minutes before the injury was announced as a Grade IGrade II strain of the latissimus dorsi, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said he thought Halladay needed a break. Halladay has "thrown a lot of bullets over his career," Manuel said, suggesting the 35-year-old pitcher could step back for a bit and still be dominant. The durable Halladay had not been on the DL because of shoulder trouble since 2004. "He's got to get well," Manuel said. The injury came with the Phillies at 26-24 and tied with Atlanta for last in the division, four games behind Washington. Philadelphia has managed to stay close minus All-Star hitters Ryan Howard (Achilles tendon) and Chase Utley (knee), who haven't played at all this season. Manuel said he harbored hope that his slugging first baseman and smooth-fielding second baseman would be back at some point this year. As for Halladay's absence, "it would hurt us," Manuel said. "How much, I really don't know." The Phillies have relied on their pitching, particularly their rotation, to stick solidly in contention. Vance Worley, who is on the DL and hasn't started since May 11 because of elbow trouble, threw his first bullpen session since the injury before Tuesday's game. Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Joe Blanton and Kyle Kendrick remain in the rotation, and there are a few potential replacements at Triple-A, including former big leaguers Dave Bush and Scott Elarton. Any chance for Philadelphia to sign former Phillies star Roy Oswalt as a possible addition ended when the free agent reached a deal with Texas later Tuesday. "Yeah, we can always use pitching," Manuel said, while adding, "I'm not telling (GM) Ruben Amaro to get another." Halladay initially felt discomfort in his shoulder last Tuesday in a start against Washington but worked through it. He cut back on his throwing regimen before his next outing, but was tagged by Yadier Molina's grand slam in St. Louis. Halladay began the season by throwing eight strong innings in a 1-0 win at Pittsburgh on opening day and seemed fine until blowing a 6-0 lead against Atlanta on May 2. He's 1-3 since then and the Phillies have lost four of his five starts. The eight-time All-Star came to the Phillies in a trade with Toronto before the 2010 season and got a 60 million, three-year contract. Halladay pitched a perfect game against the Marlins in that first season with Philadelphia, and later that year threw a no-hitter against Cincinnati in his first career postseason outing. The Phillies won the 2008 World Series and hoped to capture another crown after adding Halladay. But Philadelphia lost to the eventual champion San Francisco Giants in the 2010 NL championship series, then Halladay lost to Chris Carpenter and St. Louis 1-0 in the deciding Game 5 of the 2011 division series.

Nerds in Sports Podcast: Being a 'professional nerd' and Star Wars theories about Rey's parents

nerds_in_sports.jpg

Nerds in Sports Podcast: Being a 'professional nerd' and Star Wars theories about Rey's parents

On this edition of Nerds in Sports, we talk with io9.com senior editor Rob Bricken.

Rob explains how he juggles being a fan with being a ‘professional’ nerd, how he came to run io9.com, plus his theory on why Rey’s parents are in Star Wars may shock you.

Kevin Anderson and Michael Piff co-host. We are Nerds. In sports.

Listen to the Nerds in Sports Podcast here.

Blackhawks Camp Synopsis: Roster starting to take shape

johnhaydenblackhawks.jpg
USA TODAY

Blackhawks Camp Synopsis: Roster starting to take shape

One week down, roughly one week to go.

Some things have fallen into place during the Blackhawks’ first seven days of training camp but this week is when it really gets interesting. The roster will continue to take shape and the competition for the few vacancies will intensify. Here’s a look at what we’ve already seen in Week 1 and questions for Week 2.

Stock Rising

Jordan Oesterle. We could put a few of the young forwards here, but we’ve talked about them quite a bit and will continue to do so. So right now let’s look at Oesterle, who coach Joel Quenneville liked “a lot” in Thursday’s game against the Red Wings. A puck moving defenseman, Oesterle said he played on the right side with the Edmonton Oilers but could also play on the left. If Oesterle has another good week of camp, that and his versatility might get him a chance on a Blackhawks defense still looking for the right pieces.  

Stock Falling

Tomas Jurco. Please realize where we’re coming from with this assessment: where does he fit in this lineup? He didn’t get a lot of opportunities last season but when he did play there wasn’t anything that made him stand out. Stan Bowman likes him and much like with David Rundblad, the Blackhawks want to give the Jurco a chance to justify the draft pick they gave up for him (a third-round selection from the 2017 draft). Several young guys are pushing hard for roster spots. Can Jurco be an every-day player or do the Blackhawks have a decision to make in favor of some of those up-and-coming players? Just very interested to see how this turns out.

Biggest surprise

Nick Schmaltz’s second-line center opportunity. Maybe we should’ve been more open minded to this happening but considering how little that line changed last year you figured Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane would stay together even after the Artemi Panarin trade. But given the strides Schmaltz has made in his own game and the skating work he and Kane did together this offseason, Quenneville wants to see what Schmaltz can do in the middle. There’s always tinkering with this team; we really should have seen the possibility coming but we didn’t.

Some Remaining Questions

- If there’s one forward spot vacant out of training camp, which young player wins it? John Hayden. Here’s why: even if Alex DeBrincat doesn’t make this team out of camp, the Blackhawks’ top six is looking pretty good. Meanwhile the bottom six, especially that fourth line, has some holes. Getting a young player with some size, speed, skill and sandpaper that Quenneville likes and trusts (and he likes and trusts Hayden) would be a great addition to the bottom six.

- Will there be any surprises on defense? Maybe. Part of it depends on what the Blackhawks do about the Michal Rozsival situation. Rozsival didn’t pass his physical (upper body injury) and is not participating in camp. You hate to see someone go out like this, but it may be the end for the veteran. If so, the seventh defensive spot opens up and so do the Blackhawks options. After Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Connor Murphy you have Cody Franson (if the Blackhawks sign him), Oesterle and Jan Rutta who have made good preseason impacts. Michal Kempny’s in the mix, too. Gustav Forsling is on the bubble. He had a great camp last fall but didn’t improve off it; that has to change this season.

- Will the top line combination work? There’s no doubt the Blackhawks missed Brandon Saad. He may not have been facing the sturdiest Red Wings team on Thursday but Saad’s powerful game was nevertheless impressive and a reminder of how much the Blackhawks missed that element the last two seasons. But the Saad-Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik combo hasn’t gotten a great look yet — Toews missed Thursday’s game due to illness. Saturday should be the first chance to see if these three can really click.